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Participants in ‘pseudo-ordination’ excommunicated, Cardinal Rigali announces
A Womenpriest's  "ordination" ceremony on the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2005
A Womenpriest's "ordination" ceremony on the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2005

.- Saying it was “most unfortunate” that the “invalid ceremony” took place within his archdiocese, Archbishop of Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali has said that those who participated in a “pseudo-Ordination” of two women on Sunday have been automatically excommunicated by their act.

Cardinal Rigali said those who presented themselves for supposed ordination as well as those who “falsely claim” to ordain them have been excommunicated. On Sunday a self-professed bishop from South Africa named Patricia Fresen and a female bishop from Maryland led a ceremony in a Christian chapel inside Congregation Mishkan Shalom, a Reconstructionist Jewish synagogue in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The cardinal explained Catholic teaching in a statement, saying the ceremony is “in violation of the constant teaching of the Church, based on Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”

“Both clearly indicate that Jesus called only men to follow Him as Apostles, and the Church has always regarded his choice in this matter as normative for all time. Therefore, she has always followed Jesus' example by choosing only men for the ministry of Holy Orders.”

Saying the teaching on ordination had been confirmed by the Catholic Church as “definitive and irreformable,” he said the Church is “not authorized by Christ to confer Holy Orders upon women, and cannot do so, no matter how ardent a person’s desire may be.”

“All Catholic men and women bring different yet equally valuable gifts to the Church. The Church is strongest when the gifts given by Christ to all her members are celebrated and respected,” he continued. Cardinal Rigali then quoted Pope John Paul II’s 1994 Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which said the role of women in the life of the Church remains “absolutely necessary and irreplaceable.”

“God's gifts, however, are never given to individuals merely for their own fulfillment, but for the unfolding of his plan of salvation in the Church for the benefit of the whole community of the faithful, and no one's true personal dignity in the Church can be fostered in opposition to the will of Christ Himself.

“Consequently, such a pseudo-ordination ceremony denigrates the truth entrusted to the Church by Christ Himself, and demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the respect and dignity accorded to women by Christ and His Church.”

Roman Catholic Womenpriests, the group that attempted to carry out the “ordinations,” is planning three more ceremonies next month.


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